Lessons from a PRo

Terry Lynam and me

Terry Lynam was presented with the PRPLI Lifetime Achievement Award by yours truly

Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI), a local group of communication practitioners, has recognized PR excellence with its Jack Retalliata Lifetime Achievement Award for more than a quarter century. This year’s award was presented on May 10 to Terry Lynam, senior vice president and chief public relations officer at Northwell Health.

Several of my students attended the PRPLI Awards Dinner last week and were wowed by Terry’s “thank you” remarks. With his permission, I’m sharing some of his PR lessons here:

“Like many PR people, I’ve always felt more comfortable working behind the scenes, trying to get recognition for others. We all know from personal experience that when PR people are taking center stage, there’s usually a crisis brewing. When it comes to managing an organization’s reputation, we as communications professionals play an instrumental role in helping our employers or clients build and maintain credibility, and earn and sustain consumer trust…The key is to prepare and position yourself and your organization for the long haul. The true test of success is consistency.

“It’s a constant, long-term challenge – and we all know how difficult a job it can be and how quickly we can get knocked off track, most of the time by things that are out of our control.

“As someone who has been in the business for 37 years, the credo that I have tried to live by is to be honest with people and treat everybody with respect, regardless of where they are on the food chain. Your reputation within any organization is built from the bottom-up, as well as from the top-down.

“Whether it’s marketing, PR or journalism, communications is a noble and incredibly important profession. We should all be proud.”

Also that night, Hofstra PR alumnus Peter Guaraldi, a communications specialist for Suffolk County, was given PRPLI’s Rising Star Award. Receiving PRPLI student scholarships were Hofstra’s Briana Cunningham and Saralynn Kupperberg. As several other PR and media pros were lauded, we all great took pride in our colleagues–and our profession.

P.S.: A very sincere congratulations today to the future PR pros from the Class of 2016! Our best wishes for happiness will always be with you. Your thoughts?

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